The Rockefeller Foundation announced a new action plan to expand coronavirus testing on April 21st, and says it will make a $15 million investment to make that a reality.
Rajiv Shah, president of Rockefeller Foundation, speaks during the Milken Institute Global … [+]
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The plan consists of three stages: expanding COVID-19 testing, launching a healthcare corps for testing and contact tracing, and creating universal digital platforms for coronavirus testing data.
Currently, the U.S. tests about 1 million people for coronavirus each week; The Rockefeller Foundation wants to expand to 3 million tests per week within two months, and 30 million tests per week within six months.
It plans to increase testing by using local and academic labs and develop processes for more than one test to be done at a time.
The second phase of the plan involves creating a healthcare corps of at least 100,000 workers, including Peace corps and AmeriCorps members.
The third phase involves governmental programs partnering with tech companies to create a universal digital platform for testing results and disease surveillance
Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, says that this action plan will cost $100 billion dollars, but will save money for the country in the long run. “This is a modest investment in an effort to allow people to return to work safely,” he said in a press briefing.
“The goal is we need to be able to monitor for recurrent outbreaks,” says Jonathan Quick, Managing Director, Pandemic Response, Preparedness, and Prevention at The Rockefeller Foundation. “95% of us in this country are not yet immune to COVID-19, and we’re a while out from a vaccine.”
The federal government has been criticized for weeks for its slow rollout of coronavirus testing kits. Many scientists see robust testing efforts as a crucial step needed to reopen the economy, but America is far behind other countries and testing capacities vary drastically by state. Although President Trump said recently that states were conducting “sufficient” amounts of coronavirus testing, governors including Andrew Cuomo and Larry Hogan have repeatedly pushed back against this statement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has so far granted 41 Emergency Use Authorizations to manufacturers of new coronavirus tests, but that doesn’t mean all of these tests are accessible to the public yet.
The Rockefeller Foundation is a private philanthropic organization created by the Rockefeller family with more than $4 billion in assets as of 2018. $15 million would be its largest single grant of the year so far.